England Women relishing France battle in Clermont

Watch France Ladies v England Women, Saturday, 12.45pm, Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena

Last Updated: 09/11/19 1:54pm

Emily Scarratt's late penalty secured a 20-18 victory for the Red Roses against France, which put them top of the table in the Women's Rugby Super Series
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Emily Scarratt's late penalty secured a 20-18 victory for the Red Roses against France, which put them top of the table in the Women's Rugby Super Series

Red Roses coach Simon Middleton is expecting a huge test when England Women take on France Ladies at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

With the 2021 World Cup on the horizon, England Women have an interesting autumn series to see exactly where they stand.

They start with an away trip to France followed by a return fixture at Sandy Park against Les Bleus before hosting Italy Women at Bedford's Goldington Road.

But Middleton is firmly focused on Saturday's clash and explained exactly what playing in France was like.

"Intense, very noisy and great occasions, we played them in Grenoble two years ago and 17,500 fans packed out the stadium," said Middleton.

England Women head coach Simon Middleton

"We know they have a huge passion for rugby and it will be a very intense game. It is one of those games that you want to be involved in."

England Women were last seen in action in July when they travelled to San Diego to take part in the Super Series - coming second after they lost 28-13 to New Zealand.

France, Canada and the USA were also part of the tournament and it was only thanks to a late penalty from Emily Scarratt that saw them home against France.

England Women try to get to grips with the language ahead of Saturday's clash with France, live on Sky Sports Arena
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England Women try to get to grips with the language ahead of Saturday's clash with France, live on Sky Sports Arena

"San Diego seems a long time ago, but we have worked on a few new things and adapted a few things based on some of the lessons we learnt there. We want to have a look at them now and there is no better place than France to take that look," Middleton said.

"We have talked a lot about playing in the right areas of the field and making sure we are effective getting from one zone to the other - whether that is coming out of our 22 and making sure we get a good return on coming out of there, or whether it is executing well in their 22. Probably the most important bit is in the middle - who wins the middle ground both tactically and physically.

Emily Scarratt's late penalty secured a 20-18 victory for the Red Roses against France, which put them top of the table in the Women's Rugby Super Series
2:55
Emily Scarratt's late penalty secured a 20-18 victory for the Red Roses against France, which put them top of the table in the Women's Rugby Super Series

"We have also talked a lot about defending well off the back of a good kicking and chasing game, but we also need to keep alive the opportunities. I suppose more than anything it is managing our way around the field and making good decisions."

France: 15 Jessy Tremouliere, 14 Caroline Boujard, 13 Camille Boudaud, 12 Gabrielle Vernier, 11 Marine Menager, 10 Caroline Drouin, 9 Pauline Bourdon; 1 Annaelle Deshayes, 2 Agathe Sochat, 3 Clara Joyeux, 4 Lenaig Corson, 5 Safi N'Diaye, 6 Marjorie Mayans, 7 Gaelle Hermet 8 Romane Menager.

Replacements: 16 Caroline Thomas, 17 Dhia Traore, 18 Chloe Pelle, 19 Celine Ferer, 20 Julie Annery, 21 Laure Sansus, 22 Morgane Peyronnet, 23 Ian Jason

England Women: 15 Sarah McKenna,14 Abby Dow,13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Zoe Harrison, 11 Jess Breach, 10 Katy Daley-McLean, 9 Leanne Riley, 1 Hannah Botterman, 2 Lark Davies, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Zoe Aldcroft, 5 Abbie Scott, 6 Sarah Beckett, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Sarah Hunter (c)

Replacements: 16 Heather Kerr,17 Ellena Perry, 18 Shaunagh Brown,19 Poppy Cleall, 20 Vicky Fleetwood, 21 Natasha Hunt, 22 Emily Scott, 23 Lydia Thompson